County cracks down on illegal TVRs

LIHUE — The Kauai County Council on Wednesday will hear public testimony on a bill aimed at helping the county shut down illegal vacation rental homes.

Bill 2746, which was introduced by request of the administration, aims to strengthen existing mechanisms to assist the Planning Department with its enforcement of transient vacation rental codes, statutes and regulations. The bill is an amendment to chapter 8 and 10 of Kauai County code 1987 and gives the county the ability to levy a civil fine of $10,000 per day for each day in which a transient vacation rental violation persists.

The planning department will issue notices of violations as an initial step, and then if violations persist, an order will be issued either via mail, personal delivery, or newspaper notice requiring the party to correct the violation and or pay a civil fine.

The order will become final 30 days after it is issued, according to the bill. Property owners will be granted the ability to appeal.

The bill will also grant the Planning Department the ability to place a lien on the property where the owner has refused to rectify the violation or pay the civil fine within 30 days of being served a violation order.

All civil fines collected by the department shall be deposited to the “planning enforcement account.”

The planning enforcement account was created for the appropriated funds collected through TVR fines and, “may also be expended for materials, supplies, and equipment that facilitate inspection and enforcement of such violations.” In addition, the funds can also be used to retain independent contractors to assist in the enforcement of TVR codes.

Council notification will be required for any single expenditure from the account that exceeds over $10,000. Any fines collected when the account has an excess of $100,000 in uncommitted funds will be transferred and deposited into the county’s general fund.

After Wednesday’s public hearing, the council will have a second reading of the bill before they will vote on it.

Planning Director Ka‘aina Hull’s estimated there are between 800 to 1,200 illegal TVRs operating on Kauai and hopes the implementation of TVR tracking software will help the department in enforcement capabilities.

“We do believe that Host Compliance has unique digital capabilities that the county does not have, and they will successfully identify illegal vacation rentals that have to date been able to evade our identification and enforcement processes,” Hull said of Host Compliance, who the county has contracted to use software to track illegal TVRs.

“Essentially it is a response to beef up enforcement efforts,” Councilmember Mason Chock said of the bill. “The Planning Department will be able to use the fines for enforcement.”

Last week, the planning department filed civil complaints in Fifth Circuit Court seeking an injunction against three TVRs, two of which are owned by a corporation controlled by television and film producer Mike Fleiss. Fleiss created the TV series “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” and has produced several films, including the Hostel franchise and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Fleiss’ TVRs have “been the subject of more than two years of noticing, investigations, litigation, hearings and duplicative findings,” the charging documents read. “Moreover, there are numerous cases just like this one wherein landlords seek to, at great negative social cost, flout applicable statutes, codes and administrative rules and conduct the business of unregistered commercial short-term transient vacation rentals.”

The county alleges Fleiss’ TVRs in Haena and Hanalei have operated illegally since their registration was denied in July 2017, when the filing was submitted 24 days past deadline.

“The defendant was forewarned, fines continue to accrue, the administrative process has been exhausted, and yet the defendant chooses to do as he pleases,” the complaint says.

The planning department is asking for a court order prohibiting the TVR to operate.


Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or

  1. Charlie Chimknee May 28, 2019 8:46 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    The article says there are between 800 and 1,200 illegal TVR’s, vacation rentals on Kaua’i; the proposed fines on say just 1 of them at a Hitler Nazism sledge hammer over your head fine of $10,000 a day is equal to a single home owner paying a fine of $300,000 a month or $3,600,000 a year. Goodbye to your home.

    If we calculate the $3,600,000 a year times just 1,000 illegal TVR’s it would collectively be $3.6 Billion dollars a year, or $3,600,000,000.00.

    With that the County workers could give themselves all a “loose” 1 more zero on their paychecks. A county worker making $36,000 per year would take home $360,000 per year and our County Council would each make about $650,000 per year, and the Mayor and those $100,000+ income employees now would take home over, a bloated or spiked, $ 1,000,000 a year income and a retirement of $800,000 a year…while the average tax payer is taking home only $24,000 a year or $2,000 a month. That’s how you spell creeping INSANITY, or South American Dictatorships.

    You can see where this is going. And each government worker gets a new car each year and free personal use of gas…and why not, they got themselves additional $3.6 Billion per year new income.

    And all because 1 legal TVR house legally rents out a room, or converted carport, or their whole home out at 10 + or – nights a month, if lucky, and is compliant; and that’s not saying the legal TVR is paying all of the obligated excise and transient taxes due…and the next neighbor who deserves equal protection under the law now gets the chopped up new laws made by transient bureaucrats and transient elected and appointed officials, wherein because you arrived too late on island or could not during TVR SIGNUP could afford a home to rent out as a TVR, and so you like a new immigrant to America should not allowed Equal Rights under the law because of some deadline or arbitrary location or neighborhood you unluckily bought into? And having the new rental even of your guest house means you can afford the mortgage and taxes and insurance on your home…your dream of a lifetime.

    And while you are more apt to have local resident neighbors with a meth house, or other criminal enterprise going on next door, that the county cannot control without threat to our taxes of a lawsuit against the County for unlawful eviction of someone who may be a 50 year tenant in good standing but bad friends visiting…than you would have someone affording to vacation on Kauai bringing their kids from 1 of the 4 corners of the earth, wherein you find out that while they, talk, dress, pray, eat and are governed differently in their homeland…that they smile as wide or wider than you do, are friendly, you learn that they are wonderful people and you and your kids learn about a different place and culture in the world, that is, where they are from, and you’ve had with these visitors an interisland, or interstate, or international experience that you would otherwise not be able to afford the time or money to go to yourself…and the TVR brought these, really Ambassadors from afar right into your neighborhood, and they are paying extra almost 15% taxes on top of the property taxes benefiting us all.

    Remember those nice paved roads on the highway we are seeing now are being paid for with the TVR money as well. Thank the visitors.

    And if that Transient Vacationer may party late into the evening it turns out that since they are transient it only happens a few nights a year, and a condition of the actual owner could make it so that loud or late parties or any disturbance can mean negative impact on the transient people, from an extra party fee added on, to their being blacklisted from renting in the future on the media, like AirBnB they rented through, which has those reporting capabilities.

    On the other hand you could have a gang of bikers, or meth dealers, or thieves, or Opiate addicts move in next door and they stay for 10 years or more driving you crazy and there is nothing you can do about it…including when they give your kids drugs, and their landlord’s property value may plummet due to damages incurred from such wild behavior and all night drug deals like some of us have a few houses up from where you live. Why do they always run out of dope at 2 a.m., and always race through the neighborhood with loud pipes on their cars as motorcycles.

    Further, another home in the neighborhood, the landlord cut off the tenants’ water and electric, at great peril from a landlord /tenant lawsuit. Even bad tenants have rights. Thought the meth heads did move on…to someone else’s neighborhood…it’s a “wack a mole” cycle.

    So here the county is asking for fines on potential 1,000 homes or rentals equal to $3.6 Billion dollars a year…with fines against citizens who were unable to get their FOOT IN THE DOOR FIRST…and are now trying to make ends meet with intermittent transient tenants vs. permanent residents who damage the landlords property, do not pay the rent, or not on time, always late and the security deposit does not in anyway cover the damages…and the repairs cause months of rental downtime to recuperate from.

    And if collectively Transient Vacation landlords suit the county and it ends up costing the tax payers for the court battle lasting years and possible damages going to the recent start up TVR’s, what was it all for anyway, like making a sore thumb a broken arm.

    Maybe a reasonable fine of a $100 a day plus the tax on that would satisfy the money needs of the county.

    And what if the new TVR’s are paying all their taxes on time anyway, that would be a welcome need, compared to the legal TVR’s who may not be paying their fair share.

    The issue is complex and will be costly if taken to Court. $10,000 a day fines are insanity…it is equal to confiscating ones home. It is an unfair tax on home owners. The person in this article who is mentioned has 2 homes in violation for over a year would owe $7.2 million dollars…?

    Wasn’t taxation the Cause of the American Revolution that founded our country, we are a country of immigrants then and now even more so. What’s the sense in torturing landlords who are serving visitors who do not want the hotel experience and prefer to experience local style.

    Vacation Rentals are now worldwide in the multiple millions of rentals, it allows people to travel who otherwise would not be able to see the world, it is a new trend that is here to stay, and trying to control it in an unreasonable manner is insanity…besides how many of us have already used AirBnB, etc., or would want to, being able to afford a vacation in a far off land of different culture than our own.

    Please back off and make this reasonable. Besides. How many complaints are there not from typical “whining” neighbors who complain about everything on a regular basis.

    At least Vacation Renters do not bring barking dogs into your neighborhood.

    As to the sad fact that people must immigrate to new lands because of overcrowding in their place of origin…people left Asia and settled Samoa, who later moved on to Tahiti and Marquesas, who then went onto Hawaii and New Zealand, and not because they were satisfied with where they were, but because of a need to move on.

    Then a secondary wave of immigrants, the Euros, with need to move on settled Australia, New Zealand, North America, Alaska, and Central and South America, and Hawaii.

    Are people emigrating from Hawaii, yes, it is the way of the world. Honolulu is having more people moving away year after year lately, so housing is a historical worldwide issue.



    1. Bill C May 28, 2019 3:20 pm Reply

      It would be nice to have the Cliff’s Notes version in the future. You are giving me a headache.

      1. Charlie Chimknee May 31, 2019 7:57 am Reply

        Aloha Bill, for a minute there I thought your last name was Cliff and you were promoting…Notes…?

        On the other hand, would you want the mechanics on Hawaiian Airlines’ airplanes to have studied the Cliff Notes only? Cliff Notes might not mention little things like CLOSE THE DOOR BEFORE TAKEOFF…or how about…TOP OFF THE FUEL TANK BEFORE TAKING OFF FOR THE MAINLAND…!

        Cliff Notes may be more suited for those who should have skipped college and went straight to work for a government, you know not running the government, but being the person in government who allows one person to have an AirBnB, while they make rules that discriminate against the neighbor next door precluding him or her the right to make periodic income based on their need while at the same time enjoy the use of their property for their own family needs (kids and grandkids coming home for the summmer and holidays and need a place to stay while continuing the important family value time.) Or maybe use their vacation rental for a period of time then shut it down using the rental income money to do the always ongoing repairs of dry rot, termites, and rust, not to mention the damages caused by the prior long term careless tenants all the while giving the long term tenants a deal with HUD rates and giving up full market value only to have your place wrecked.

        FYI…Remind yourself that 45% of new land and home purchases are from off island people, “artificially” (if we can call them that, that is, the not “born and raised”) increasing the population of the non born and raised and thus an “artificial” accelerated population increase. And even now more Off island people are taking the long term rentals available ahead of the people born and raised on Kauai, moving here in their desire to leave the lifestyles of the large cities they are escaping from, while desiring the lifestyle Kauai has to offer.

        Less long term rentals available mean less long term new people moving on island and filling the highways and beaches and other leisure areas formerly enjoyed by local people. Look at the plan for Kee and Haena…30 out of 100 cars for locals att he only parking lot…what about the weekends when locals have time off and can’t go to where their taxes pay for.

        While the highways are crowded on/during the day and evenings, which is another serious problem so far not being solved, but at least the highways are not where we spend our leisure time.

        A major concern may be better addressed as to protecting our island lifestyle. How horrible it will be when you cannot go to the beaches anywhere because there is no room room to put down a towel or lay your surfboard down between sessions.

        Look at the pictures of European beaches on the Mediterranean and beaches in Asia where the towels and umbrellas are laid out on grids with almost no room to walk between for the length of the entire beach.

        And the recent pics of Mount Everest with people waiting in line to reach the summit.

        Are our Kauai leaders experienced enough, travelled enough, Akamai enough, and educated enough (forget the Cliff Notes, Cliff never saw this coming) to protect us from the apparent inevitable onslaught of off island people wanting to visit and live long term in clearly one of the world’s last safe paradises?

        Bill…there are no Cliff Notes for that. We need people now; and who amongst us can protect this aina 20, 30, 50 and more years ahead. Well, time will tell…! Will it be happy or sad…?

        Where do you go from here…when you become fed up and want to leave? Will Kauai become a Zoo and we are all in the cage?

        Bon apetit…!

  2. charliechimknee May 28, 2019 10:17 am Reply

    Many people live in nice and beautiful trailer parks, and some in a single trailer on a lot, and housing has to be a problem here?

    Why not $50,000 nice trailer homes, or even nice used ones, vs. unaffordable $500,000 to $700,000 homes. A new truck can cost $50,000.

    One of my neighbors lived in a older trailer he said for 4 years of college, another neighbor lived in a “cab over” camper up on blocks for 2 years while he and his wife built their home.

    College Education, a home of your own…DREAMS COME TRUE…is there a law against that…? We should be facilitating that.

    A college education is a sacrifice step to a better job and lifestyle…a trailer and camper can be a sacrifice step to a home and room enough for a family…we should not separate people from their dreams.

    Say who’s is that nice trailer in that yard surrounded by flowers and Palms…and rows of vegetables in the ground? Must be someone moving up…give them a chance.

    You shouldn’t have to be Mr. Zuckerberg to live on Kauai.

    The average parent could help their kids buy a nice used trailer, with payments, from the mainland, while they may not in 10 lifetimes afford to help buy a home to continue the generations of their family.

    Imagine struggling as an immigrant to start the plantations here over 150 years ago…6, 7, 8 generations ago…and now you are the last one left…and you have to move to Vegas or L.A. ?

    Make it real and reasonable for Kauaians.

  3. Rev Dr. Malama May 28, 2019 11:11 am Reply

    The County Council members should CEASE and desist from acting as the insurgency of the illegal occupation of the Hawai’ian Kingdom.
    Notice has been delivered to the individuals and the public that by attempting to plunder another person’s property is war CRIMES punishment is death under the constitution of the Hawai’ian Kingdom law.

    1. Andy May 28, 2019 3:21 pm Reply

      It’s 2019. Not 1893. Just FYI.

  4. Hill billy Hal May 28, 2019 11:54 am Reply

    Stop whining like babies..All you gotta do is follow the rules and abide by the law…real simple..and if you think the laws don’t apply to you then pay Peter Piper, deal with the consequences of self entitlement.

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